Midway Through the Journey of Our Life
by James Lawson

"Everybody I know might be plotting something and dangerous, including you."

At the center of Lawson’s twisting tale is Karin, a woman turning fifty and still learning hard lessons. She is by no means old as she celebrates the milestone birthday. Her mother, Effie, is still youthful at seventy-five, while her ailing father, Magnus, remains sharp at ninety. Intelligent and beautiful, Karin is a former dancer with a now successful career in medicine. Her husband, Theo, is a respected professor of history at Columbia College.

Spooked by a ghost from her past in the face of Shane, Karin is immediately stricken by the eerie resemblance to her former lover, Sean. It turns out that Shane is Sean’s son, and the duo engages in a kind of warped stratagem that involves Karin, her sister, Camille, and others. Lawson primarily trains his lens on Karin, who confronts her “monster from the past” as she slips into uncontrollable lust and unravels. The infidelity wounds Theo, who falls into despair. Their daughter Evie is equally shocked at her mother’s audacity while caught in her own crossroads of love and political war. And Shane’s humiliated, disgruntled mother, Heather, concocts an unpleasant plot for revenge.

Much happens between the pages of Lawson’s entangled novel, a product of his careful layering of plots and subplots. It is rife with ethical dilemmas, torrid affairs, and even terrorism. He charts the rise and fall of his principal characters, examining the complexities of parent-child relationships and how sins impact more than just ourselves. Lives intersect in unforeseen ways, where Lawson forces us to witness several disasters unfold in uncomfortable, raw moments and acts of folly. The drama rests not in what Lawson’s characters might do but in what they ultimately choose to do. The writing is detailed, but the chapters are brief, keeping a swift pace with this ensnaring read.

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